It’s no secret that Bowdoin’s Ivies weekend looks different now than it did just a few years ago. Since its inception in 1865, the event had grown into a weekend-long affair with hundreds of thousands of dollars of programming attached.
Editor’s note 04/21/2023 at 1:08 p.m.: This article mistakingly reported that the last faculty meeting was on March 6. This has been corrected to reflect that the meeting was on April 7. An original version also implied that the Academic Fair would be retired.
Dear admitted students,
As you walk along the quad and feel the cool and gentle breeze, taking in the sight of the chapel, students playing spikeball and a squirrel eyeing someone’s lunch, we hope you get the sense that you are home.
Last week, the Bowdoin Labor Alliance (BLA) published an op-ed in tandem with the rollout of their most recent campaign—securing better pay for campus workers who they deem to be uncompensated or undercompensated.
The situation is, of course, complicated.
Yesterday morning, Evan Gershkovich ’14, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal based in Moscow, was detained by Russian authorities on espionage charges for doing the same job that journalists around the world do every day.
As Bowdoin celebrated another year of a successful BowdoinOne Day, students were met with free coffee and doughnuts, high-fives from the Bowdoin polar bear, letter-writing stations in Smith Union and an overwhelming sense of school spirit and campus camaraderie.
We’ve all heard it before: “Bowdoin was so much better before Covid-19.” Our fellow upperclassmen seem to constantly mourn the pre-Covid days when days were brighter, people were kinder and they all had more fun. If you’re planning on graduating after May 2023, you’re likely no stranger to being reminded by those around you that you’re experiencing some generic-brand Bowdoin experience; while no one can point to exactly what’s changed, they can’t help but feel like something’s off.
“What you need to remember about legacies is that they are generally better qualified than other candidates, not weaker,” Bill Shain, former Dean of Admissions at the College (2006–2008) said in a 2008 interview with ABC News.
As temperatures drop below zero this weekend, studying with groups of friends sprawled out on the quad will be but a distant memory keeping all of us warm. Student spaces where we can gather, study, sip hot chocolate and dry off our snowy boots feel more and more important as they become more and more central to our campus experience.
As a community dedicated to each other’s well-being and our collective Common Good, Bowdoin students should have more access to basic life-saving resources and training.
With the tragic death of Omar Osman ’26 this past fall from an allergic reaction, we are reminded of how important access to these resources is.
The days are getting shorter and the list of upcoming exams and deadlines is growing longer. In just a short week, we will be entering Reading Period, an opportunity for students to focus deeply on their final tasks of the semester.
At 7:05 p.m. on November 4, 2021, the sound of applause rang throughout Thorne: a wave of relief cascading across campus as the student body checked their emails. At that moment, President Clayton Rose’s extension of Thanksgiving Break was necessary for a College processing tremendous grief.
As daylight saving time comes to a close, Bowdoin students are adjusting to the realities of 4 p.m. sunsets and fast-approaching winter gusts. As heavy coats become necessities and daylight becomes increasingly scarce, it is important to find ways to support each other as we enter darker, colder days.
This Tuesday many Bowdoin students and Brunswick community members will gather at the polls. Whether you’re born and raised in Maine or only intend to stay for four years, your presence here matters, as a vote or as a voice.
If one were to teleport onto the Main Quad fifty years ago, it would look familiar. The visual language of the College has remained strong. Similar lamps still line the paths between patches of grass. Squirrels still bury their fall acorn stashes under the same—if now slightly bigger—oak trees.
In a world where oatmilk lattes are ordered online and to-go orders are taken through the Toast app, it’s concerningly easy to lose the humanity in these seemingly small interactions. The pandemic has exacerbated difficulties in the already-difficult service industry, resulting in a world where customers interact less with workers and more with websites.
In its Offer of the College, Bowdoin promises students the opportunity “To count Nature a familiar acquaintance.”
In keeping with this goal, Bowdoin has served as a leader in environmental protection in a variety of ways.
The smiles of cardswipers and dining staff are some of the first to brighten our days as we swipe in at breakfast each morning; we often pass housekeepers in the hallways of our dorms, and we breeze past staff at the library front desk on our way to study.
Coughing, sniffling, sneezing—this is the current soundtrack to the College’s dining halls, classrooms and study spaces. Since the pandemic began, it has become harder to decipher whether these cacophonies are due to Covid-19, “the Bowdoin flu” or simply allergies.
Imagine having the chance to be neighbors with your congressional representative; to see the President grocery shopping; to grab coffee with the mayor. In the larger political world, this level of accountability and accessibility is hard to come by.
With just one class who experienced a pre-pandemic Bowdoin remaining on campus, it is easy to take for granted some of the newer cultural changes on Bowdoin’s campus. Often, older students might regularly complain about the “good old days”—literally just Ivies—but it is important to understand that these post-pandemic changes have ushered in the normalization of a new type of Bowdoin student: those on a non-traditional collegiate path.
Bowdoin considers itself a champion of equity—and in many ways, it is. The College has boasted a need-blind admissions process for US citizens since 2008, and earlier this year, it extended this policy to international students.
On Tuesday, April 19, President Clayton Rose announced his plans to leave the College following the 2022-23 academic year. Rose, Bowdoin’s 15th President, will depart after an eight-year tenure. This transition is a vital opportunity for the College to reflect on the meaning of the presidency and broaden its view of what a college president should embody.
The Offer of the College promises students that while at Bowdoin, they will be able to “count … Art an intimate friend.” Although the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA) holds a prominent place on campus, the College’s investment in other aspects of the arts is lacking.
As we begin a new semester with more takeout containers and freezing walks to Farley, we want to take a moment to recognize those that keep this campus alive. The staff members and faculty that keep our campus running are also putting themselves and their families at risk when coming to work.
In March 2020, Bowdoin asked us to be flexible. Today, we do the same. Having more flexibility in course options—half-semester courses, 1.5 credit lab courses, optional J-terms, etc.—will give students more ways to reach the 32 credits necessary to graduate without sacrificing their mental or physical health.
To the Bowdoin and Brunswick community,
The passing of our friend, classmate and community member has rocked our lives in unfathomable ways. We are trying to take care of ourselves, our loved ones, our friends, our acquaintances and our colleagues.
The Bates Student published an article on October 13 concerning unionization efforts among the college’s staff. Later that day, Mary Pols, Bates’ media relations specialist, requested that the story be taken down due to “misleading statements and reporting inaccuracies.” The Student subsequently took down the article and republished it with significant alterations, including several additional comments from Bates administrators that reflected the college’s position in a more positive light.
Bowdoin groundskeeping has assisted in creative uses of Bowdoin spaces by placing tables and chairs throughout campus, especially on Main Quad. The hallowed ground at the College, Main Quad’s well-manicured lawns and picturesque buildings create a beautiful landscape that is arguably unrivaled on Bowdoin’s campus.
Week three of the semester is when things start to get busy. First papers are due, you have a standing date at a professor’s office hours, and you’re starting to question why you took microeconomics in the first place.
For the first time since March of 2020, four class years are learning and living all together on Bowdoin’s campus. The paths of the quad are filled with more people now than at any other point in the past year and a half.
When we began our time at Bowdoin, none of us could have imagined it would end like this. This is not the Bowdoin we signed up for—we never thought we would finish the semester in little Zoom boxes, eating take-out from the dining hall or living at home again.
Last week was International Week at Bowdoin—a week when the international student community celebrates its members’ cultures while reflecting on unique struggles that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. In an Orient feature covering International Week, many international students voiced concerns about a lack of sufficient support from the College.
This semester, particularly for those of us living in Brunswick, it has been easier than ever to confine our perspectives to campus. COVID-19 has altered life at Bowdoin in ways that have made it seemingly impossible to talk about anything else—new updates have been released daily all semester, and every announcement of an expedited vaccine timeline or relaxed restriction spawns passionate conversations.
In an especially unusual year in the College’s history, Bowdoin students have had a lot to say. Our representatives to the administration, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG), can fill a crucial role in communicating the needs of students in this unprecedented situation and leading us on the road to, hopefully, a more normal college experience.
This has been a semester of calculated risks. In devising rules and guidelines for the campus community, administrators were tasked with creating a system allowing for a fulfilling Bowdoin experience for every student while still minimizing the potential for a COVID-19 outbreak on campus.
On Monday, students received an email from President Clayton Rose detailing one of the College’s new virtual initiatives: Mental Health Moments. Designed by nationally-renowned mental health advocate Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas ’89, Mental Health Moments is a program in which students receive weekly mental health tips in the form of an email from Assistant Director of Residential Life Celeste Hynes.
During the fall semester, Bowdoin only housed a third of its student body. Yet, many students decided to live in Brunswick and its surrounding towns in an effort to maintain their connection with friends and the greater Bowdoin community.
When applying to Bowdoin, students inevitably hear the phrase “Common Good,” whether through the Offer of the College or the Admissions Office. The “Common Good” is an essential part of the Bowdoin experience. Now, during the pandemic, we are focused on creating a “Bowdoin Bubble” rather than breaking out of it, but what does that mean for Bowdoin’s “Common Good” commitment?
After clicking the red “Leave Meeting” button for the third time in a day, your door locking behind you is an inviting sound. You don a coat, hat, mask and the hope that you won’t slip on the ice again.
Many of us are looking forward to the end of “Hibearnation,” galvanized by the fact that only two cases of COVID-19 have been recorded among students living in residence, the end of Bowdoin’s intense restrictions appears to be in sight.
Fall break, for many, was not a break this year. Students felt overwhelmed with the work assigned—time meant for rest, rejuvenation and the Maine outdoors became time for catching up on copious amounts of work, last-minute papers and even exams.
Each year, as the weather gets colder, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) kicks off a month of anti-bias programming dubbed “No Hate November” where students, faculty and invited guests give lectures and host events aimed at addressing intolerance on campus.
We are facing one of the most consequential elections in American history, and we find ourselves in a moment where our democracy is profoundly threatened. This is it. We cannot expect to be supported by the leaders in our supposedly democratic system; during Senate hearings for the appointment to the highest court of the land, our new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett failed to name one of the five protections guaranteed under the First Amendment: the right to protest.
During Tuesday’s debate, we watched the country divide further as our nation’s political future devolved into images of chaos. The next four weeks will only hurtle us further into this uncertainty as the election grows near.
Four days ago, the Washington Post released an article regarding the Climate Clock, a Manhattan fixture providing us with a deadline for irreversible action on the impending climate crisis: 7 years, 101 days, 17 hours, 29 minutes and 22 seconds from when it was unveiled on Monday.
Editor’s note 09/18/2020 at 2:35 p.m. EDT: A previous version of this article mistakenly reported that James Staley was served with a subpoena. The article has been updated to reflect that the subpoena was in fact issued to JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The average day in the life of a Bowdoin student has changed dramatically in the past few months. We have traded our award-winning dining halls for boxes of Annie’s mac and cheese. Our walks across campus have been replaced with a commute from our beds to our desks.
Class of 2024: congratulations on making it through your first week! You have been nasal-swabbed, contained to your new (isolation-friendly) home and introduced to most of your professors and peers through a laptop screen. You have relocated during a pandemic, and you have trusted the College with your health and safety.
In the weeks since a police officer killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, our country has been embroiled in a critical conversation about the racism, police brutality and systemic violence that Black Americans face every day. With Americans taking to the streets in all fifty states to protest police brutality, we, the members of the Orient’s editorial board, stand in solidarity with Black students and activists.
To begin writing this editorial, we, senior members of Orient staff, all wrote down our honest reasons for joining the Orient.
Some of us joined because we thought college journalism sounded important and glamorous. Some of us joined because we thought the upperclassmen on the Orient were important and glamorous.
Facing backlash from lawmakers and the public, wealthy colleges have begun to announce that they will not accept the stimulus money they had received under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Harvard University announced its decision to relinquish funds on Wednesday; Yale, Princeton, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania soon followed suit.
On February 5, Samantha Simonetta filed a federal sexual harassment lawsuit alleging that former Allegheny College Head Football Coach B.J. Hammer ignored reports of sexual misconduct and discrimination while Simonetta was a kicker on Allegheny’s football team in 2018.
The Offer of the College is a sort of mission statement for Bowdoin. And, though its meaning holds up through the years, it has undergone several revisions since it was written in 1906. This week, we made some changes of our own to reflect the new reality that we face as a College.
As nearly 10 million Americans have now lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is in the midst of an economic crisis and small businesses are particularly vulnerable.
Restaurants and retail businesses like the ones that dot Maine street of downtown Brunswick will be hit the hardest.
Since the College’s official decision on March 11 to move classes to a remote learning format, the Bowdoin academic landscape has changed. Nearly every facet of our academic experience has shifted and not necessarily for the better—our classrooms, our meeting times and even our course material look markedly different than they did three weeks ago.
On Thursday, Dean of Student Affairs Janet Lohmann sent an email to campus updating students on the College’s ongoing efforts to monitor the spread of COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus. In her email, Lohmann pointed students towards a new FAQ page on the College’s website with information about the virus, preventative measures and travel-related advisories.
This week, Harvard professor Anthony Jack visited campus to lecture about the systemic difficulties of being a first-generation or low-income student, especially of students whose educational backgrounds do not align with norms at elite institutions like Bowdoin, because of an extremely inequitable educational system.
With New Hampshire and Iowa behind us, it may seem like the primary season is in the rearview. The media often becomes fixated on the candidates who win these primaries, creating the impression that the race has already passed its most important threshold.
Most college public relations departments don’t undermine college journalism by actively censoring publications or by restricting access to information or people. They undermine college journalism by raising minor but constant complaints about our choice of words, our interpretations of facts or our presentation of information.
On Monday, the faculty introduced a motion to revise the “Exploring Social Differences” (ESD) distribution requirement. The proposal aims to strengthen the requirement and rename it “Difference, Power, Inequity.”
On a campus where bias incidents seem to recur every four years, preparing students across all academic disciplines to discuss and analyze social differences is essential.
Students connected flights, caught trains and hitched rides to arrive back on campus last week for the start of the spring semester. Despite the College’s relative proximity to various transportation hubs, returning to campus can often be costly and complex.
It is time for the state of Maine to be a leader.
Individual towns throughout the state of Maine—Portland, South Portland, Bar Harbor and, most recently, Brunswick—are already setting an example. Each has recently passed a resolution declaring a climate emergency, putting them in the company of cities such as San Francisco and New York City.
Take off your parking brakes! Thirty days from now, new parking restrictions will take effect on a number of Brunswick streets, including Columbia Avenue, Belmont Street, Longfellow Avenue, Noble Street, Pine Street and Union Street.
The restrictions, passed by the Brunswick Town Council at its November 18 meeting, are not unprecedented—the Council placed similar restrictions, specifically aimed at Bowdoin students, on Park Row in 2014, and the College revoked student parking privileges to the lots at the Maine Street College Houses the same year.
Last night, actor Patrick Dempsey, H’13 sat down with Marcus Williams ’21, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) chair of diversity and inclusion, for a conversation serving as the keynote address for No Hate November. Though the topic at hand was a dialogue on dyslexia, many of the audience’s questions focused not on the implications of living with the disability, but rather on clarifying what it actually is.
This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of Bowdoin’s Africana Studies program, the John Brown Russwurm Center and the Black Student Union (BSU, formerly the African American Society). A celebration is in order.
Throughout the next few days, students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors will have the opportunity to participate in programming that provides a multi-faceted and community-wide recognition of this milestone.
Two days, one night—that’s about how long prospective students on an overnight visit spend getting a taste of Bowdoin’s campus. It’s also about how long the College’s first Joseph McKeen Visiting Fellow, Arthur C. Brooks, will be spending at Bowdoin after he arrives on Thursday.
If all goes to plan, by July 1, 2022, Bowdoin’s minimum starting wage for hourly employees will increase to $17.00 an hour, and existing employees will receive raises to compensate for the effects of wage compression.
Yesterday, the College’s Board of Trustees commenced the first of its three meetings that will take place this year. Among the Board’s 40 members is James “Jes” Staley ’79 P ’11 whose ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein have landed him in the pages of newspapers nationwide.
Twelve Bowdoin housekeepers wrote an op-ed this week detailing the realities of the work they do to clean Bowdoin’s spaces. The letter paints a picture of Bowdoin as an employer that is, frankly, shameful.
The College presents itself as an institution guided by the principles of the Common Good.
In solidarity with the largest global youth strike in history, Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA) organized a climate rally on the museum steps earlier today. While this once would have been a rare sight on our campus, instances of student activism are becoming increasingly frequent and visible.
Last year, frustrated by unrealistic platforms and uncontested elections for Bowdoin Student Government’s (BSG) executive committee, we published an editorial titled “BSG, do better.” Members of last year’s BSG executive team replied, assuring us that the incoming BSG officers have the opportunity to do just that.
Congratulations to everyone for making it through the first week of classes. It’s finally the weekend! Tonight, hundreds of students—predominantly first years and sophomores—will descend upon the College Houses. And tomorrow, it will happen again.
To those first-year students planning on attending house crawl: this may be your first time drinking.
In an email to the College on Thursday afternoon, President Clayton Rose detailed a string of bias incidents that occurred over the last week. While four bias incidents were reported in the past week alone, it is anyone’s guess as to how many others remain unreported.
This week, like many other weeks this semester, we’ve encountered questions about the Orient’s editorial decisions. We are always learning and striving to do journalism better, and we welcome feedback. We want to take a moment to answer some of the questions that we come across, in the hopes that transparency on our part can build trust with you, our readers, and foster a stronger dialogue.
In his inaugural address, President Joseph McKeen said, “It ought always to be remembered, that literary institutions are founded and endowed for the common good, and not for the private advantage of those who resort to them for education.”
How far have we strayed from this purpose?
This weekend, students will have the opportunity to elect officers for next year’s Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) executive committee. Sort of. Only three of the officer positions are actually contested this year—the chairs of diversity and inclusion, facilities and sustainability, student organizations, student affairs and the treasury will win by default.
“Although you may believe that having a cat in residence will help you, we have determined that authorizing the cat as a reasonable accommodation is not necessary in light of the evidence of your long history living in residence without such an aid and your excellent academic accomplishments.” That was the message that a student received via email from the Office of Accessibility, denying their request for an emotional support animal on campus.
While we were all away on Spring Break, news broke of a particularly salacious college admissions scandal. From photoshopped athlete photos to fake diagnoses of learning disabilities, the extent to which some parents would go to get their children into college shocked many of us.
Almost exactly three years ago, on February 20, 2016, a group of (mostly white) Bowdoin sophomores infamously gathered in a room in Stowe Hall, donning sombreros and drinking tequila. Although this story is a familiar one to Bowdoin seniors, it might not be to first years.
The Bowdoin women’s basketball team has danced its way to the number one seed in the NESCAC tournament, and the music doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon—though it may be changing tempo. Taylor Choate ’19 told Orient columnist Ian Ward this week that “in the postseason, everything’s different.
According to an article in this week’s edition of the Orient, many seniors are dissatisfied with the resources provided by the Career Planning Center (CPC). In the Orient’s biannual approval ratings survey, more than a third of seniors reported disapproving or strongly disapproving of the CPC.
This week, Middlebury’s Board of Trustees voted for a plan that will divest the college’s endowment from fossil fuels within the next 15 years. Our neighbors in Vermont will also be switching to 100 percent renewables by 2028 and have pledged to reduce their energy consumption on campus by 25 percent.
In the biannual Bowdoin Orient Student Survey, published in this week’s issue, 34.61 percent of students indicated that they disapprove or strongly disapprove of the Brunswick Police Department (BPD). This is by far the highest disapproval rating of the individuals, departments and organizations listed on the survey.
When students return to campus in January, the first phase of the Lived Name Initiative will be launched. Created in cooperation with Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Information Technology and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the project is aimed at streamlining the process through which students change their names across platforms such as Polaris, Workday and new OneCards.
Before email existed, on Thursday nights the Orient staff would create pages by pasting words and images onto boards and hand delivering them to the press room of Alliance Press in Brunswick, our printer of more than thirty years.
Last Friday, the Orient reported that transphobic language was found in a bathroom in Smith Union. While the Bias Incident Group has convened about the issue since, reaction on campus has been muted. In light of the Trump administration’s memo about defining gender as immutable and assigned at birth, this silence is deafening.
In 2014, Brunswick candidate for the Maine House of Representatives Ralph Tucker won the Democratic primary by 10 votes. In 2016, Maine voters passed a referendum on marijuana legalization by a margin of less than four thousand votes.
This year, in an email to the campus community, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) Chair of the Treasury Harry Sherman ’21 released the first issue of the SAFC Digest, a monthly publication outlining major budgetary decisions of the Student Activities Funding Committee (SAFC).
In 2005, Executive Director of the Christian Civic League of Maine Michael Heath visited campus, campaigning to overturn Maine’s recently passed sexual orientation anti-discrimination law. As a form of protest, students wore yellow shirts to the event.
In 1773, a group of people, upset that they were not being listened to by their government, dumped the modern equivalent of a million dollars’ worth of tea into the Boston Harbor. Almost 150 years later, a group of women fighting for voting rights picketed outside of the White House six days a week for the summer of 1917.
Last night, we watched Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katie Benner ’99 interview former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. McDonough’s talk was edifying, but maybe the most impressive moment of the evening was when he turned a simple student question about his Irish heritage into astute thesis on the value of immigrants in America, both historically and in the present.
If you’ve attended a campus event recently—anything from first-year move in to a senior networking and interviewing workshop—you’ve likely seen the new Bowdoin Votes tables, staffed by students eager to help their peers register to vote.
The College knows that members of Bowdoin’s house- and groundskeeping staff regularly struggle to make ends meet, as we reported this week in the Orient. In addition, the Orient has learned that workers in dining make similarly low wages.
If you have not experienced it (actually, you’re in the middle of experiencing it), you have probably heard the stories. Drinking games in class on Thursday and Friday (bad). Students sprinting across Brunswick Quad with stolen beers, pursued by the rightful owners of said beers (depends on the brand of beer).
As students solidify plans both for the coming summer and, in the case of graduating seniors, for their careers, the College provides invaluable resource, whether in the form of the Office of Career Planning, the Office of Institutional Fellowships and Research, or through informal information networks.
The Offer of the College (a document whose sanctity on campus falls somewhere between the Constitution and this newspaper) offers you these next four years as the best ones of your life. We’ve helpfully annotated it for you, so you can understand what it really says.
Last spring, the Orient’s editorial board argued that institutionally supporting international students should be a top priority for the college. Since then, we have welcomed to campus a class with a seven percent international student population, the largest percentage of any class currently enrolled at Bowdoin.